MINNEAPOLIS - Leaders in the robotics industry gathered at The Depot in Minneapolis for the sixth annual Robotics Alley Conference & Expo.

The expo featured emerging technology meant to change the way we live.

California-based Suitable Technologies brought its Beam robots to the conference. The "smart presence systems" allow its users to be in two places at once. Beam provides video conferencing coupled with the ability to move around. It allowed speakers, like one from California, to present on the conference main stage.
3D printers were also on display.

WDL systems in North Carolina sells a $500 3D printer that has been on the market in the United States for less than a year.

"Prices on 3D printers are really coming down lately. They kind of started off as a major industrial tool, then they sort of hit the enthusiast market," said Donnie Springfield, chief technical officer for WDL systems.

The expo also featured a robotic lawn mower, similar to a Roomba but for your lawn. Robomow has been around since 1995 but it hasn't caught on in the United States yet.

"You go to Europe and they're all over the place," said Giselle Sendra, digital marketing director for Robomow. "In the U.S. it's a little bit different because people actually enjoy mowing their lawn. So it's something they kind of have to wrap their mind around. It's something new. It's different."

While people come to Robotics Alley from all over the world, one of its focuses is on highlighting the robotics industry in the Midwest.

Edina-based ReconRobotics is a co-founder of the annual event.

ReconRobotics sells tactical micro-robots to law enforcement agencies and the military. These micro-robots can be used to check out a hostile situation before police decide what to do next.

"Anyone can use this. It's designed for use in a high-stress situation to be very intuitive," said Andrew Drenner, chief technology officer for ReconRobotics.

The Robotics Alley Conference & Expo was Feb. 28 and March 1.